Thoughts for the Day

Sunday, 20th November 2022: The Fourth Sunday of the Kingdom Season

Prophet Kingdom of God Samuel 1 Samuel 8

Reading : Verses from 1 Samuel, Chapter 8

Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, and said to him, ‘You are old and your sons do not follow in your ways; appoint for us, then, a king to govern us, like other nations.’ But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, ‘Give us a king to govern us.’ Samuel prayed to the Lord, and the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. Just as they have done to me, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so also they are doing to you. Now then, listen to their voice; only—you shall solemnly warn them, and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.’....

But the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel; they said, ‘No! but we are determined to have a king over us, so that we also may be like other nations, and that our king may govern us and go out before us and fight our battles.’


Today on the fourth Sunday of the Kingdom Season we come to crux of the problem between God and humans. Our reading takes us back to over a thousand years before the birth of Jesus, to the time of Samuel. We saw him as a small child then God called him (click on the tag "Samuel" at the top of this page and follow the link), now we see him as an old man. He has led the nation of Israel as a prophet faithfully for years, but now the people ask him to appoint a king over them. It is not the Prophet that is being rejected, but God that is being rejected.

I have never been able to forget the feeling of sadness, almost despair, that came to me when I finished reading the Hebrew Scriptures (our Old Testament) aloud and took a fifteen minutes break before starting the New Testament Scriptures. It seems presumptuous to feel sad for God, but no matter what He does His people constantly reject Him. It is made worse by knowing that even with His great plan (through Jesus) to bring the people back to Him, still most people then, as now, reject Him and His Kingdom. The attractions of worldly kingdoms seem infinitely superior to many.

As we move towards the season of Advent, can we begin to pray for those around us who see Father Christmas as more important than the birth of God's Son, and who seek to remove all trace of the real meaning of Christmas from this festiival?


Heavenly Father,
as Your people rejected You as King,
and preferred an earthly king
may we work to put 'Christ' back into 'Christmas' today,
both in our own lives and in the people and places we meet.
To those who say "Christmas is for children",
may we reply "The message is for all,
for God's Son came to reunite us with God."
To those who are suffering may we give
practical help to witness to God's Kingdom.

Follow Up Thoughts

You might like to look up this history of the Prophet Samuel:

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